Where do the Bulls go from here?
We should have plenty of time to reflect on Robert McCullum in the next few weeks as USF searches for his successor. He said Friday that he'd known since meeting with Woolard on Sunday that there was a strong possibility he'd coached his last game at USF, something he told his players during a team meeting Monday. Despite that, he was still on the road recruiting, catching a junior college game in Mariana on Thursday night that saw two of his top two targets, Hillsborough CC's Ejike Hart and Tallahassee CC's Dustin Scott, go head-to-head. A day later, he'd been fired. More on him later, but I'll offer up my best guesses as to candidates who match up with USF -- financially, professionally, philosophically. You'll hear a lot of names, but here's where I'm starting:
Head coach at Virginia Commonwealth, longtime UF assistant
Skinny: Interviewed for USF job in 2003, has taken VCU to NCAA tournament in first season. Superb recruiter under Billy Donovan now proving himself as a head coach. One of this off-season's hottest coaches.
Head coach at Southern Illinois, third year
Skinny: Youngest coach in NCAA Tournament last two seasons now has Salukis ranked and well-respected. Woolard went to SIU, and Lowery's current deal pays him only $180,000 per year, putting him in USF's budget range.
Head coach at Alabama since 1998
Skinny: On hot seat after disappointing season, but he's expensive, making $1-million per year and under contract through 2011. Why would USF have a chance? Gottfried played basketball for Woolard in high school in Carbondale, Ill.
Head coach at Charlotte for eight seasons
Skinny: Former Conference USA rival has taken 49ers to five NCAA tourneys in nine seasons, but struggled to 14-16 mark this season in Atlantic 10. "There's been no contact, so I'm not going to comment at this point," Lutz said in a statement Friday night, not exactly denying interest.
Head coach at Loyola Marymount, second season
Age: (NA ... graduated college 1988)
Skinny: Was an assistant at USF during Bulls' best seasons in 1989-91, spent eight seasons as Lute Olsen's top recruiter at Arizona. He's 25-36 in two seasons at Loyola, so local ties might not be enough to overcome early struggles as a head coach.
Assistant coach at Florida, previously at Notre Dame
Skinny: First year as Gators assistant, he spent six years as top assistant under Mike Brey at Notre Dame. Has experience, respect in Big East circles. Another Donovan assistant, Larry Shyatt, has head-coaching experience at Clemson, background as assistant at Providence.
Thoughts? Give me the names you'd add to the list and why ...